PTA presets with natural and balanced palettes that will work for:
All times of the day.
All P3D seasons*.
All sky/cloud textures (regardless of texture-generation application).
* Using different presets to match the palettes for each P3D season would require frequent sim restarts and rebuilds of the shaders cache - especially if you jump from one hemisphere to another in the same session. Using a single year-round preset is much more practical.
These presets require HDR mode in P3D to be enabled: make sure you set the correct values for each preset. Though HDR values can be tweaked "live" in P3D (to suit user preferences or weather conditions), bear in mind that even small changes in settings can have a significant impact on the final output.
If you find you need to make more drastic (or permanent) adjustments to the preset, see Customising below.
NEW!03 December 2018: PTA 2.63 Released : adds P3Dv4.4 compatibility. Preset Adam_262_01 should work fine, but a new P3Dv4.4-specific preset (Adam_263_01) is in the works.
Sky textures have a HUGE impact on the overall palette in P3D (on sky, terrain and even aircraft) so, if you are using live weather + texture generation (AS or ASN etc.), you may occasionally get some unpredictable results. For this reason, I prefer a fixed day texture set for the full 10-day cycle. I use OPUS Live Weather to vary the weather system only (ie. cloud coverage, visibility etc. - no changes to textures), giving me plenty of variation without disturbing the overall colour balance.
This presumes you already have a fully working version of PTA on your system. If starting totally from scratch, please check out Matt's site (and the Avsim forums) for fresh install instructions.
Download the preset zip archive and extract it to somewhere convenient.
Copy the *.ini file into your PTA folder.
Start PTA: navigate to and open the new preset.
Click on "Apply Preset". This will apply the preset and clear your shaders cache.
Launch P3D - and check that your HDR settings are set to the recommended values for the new preset.
It may take a while for the textures/shaders to rebuild the first time you run P3D after a preset change - this is normal.
For people using these presets as a "starting point", here's the procedure I use:
Slow and painful as it may be, try not to change more than one parameter at a time.
If unsure as to what a particular parameter does, try setting the value to either extreme.
Use the "Comments" function within PTA to create a short term log of changed values. That way you can easily step back.
Don't be frightened of saving dozens of versions of the preset - but name them sensibly.
Turn off any dynamic weather functions (ASN etc.) while testing - you need a level playing field! Find a good "middle of the road" set of static textures and work only with those when tweaking - you can always re-enable dynamic textures afterwards.
For each parameter you're working with, set up and save a P3D scenario that shows that particular parameter to good effect - and give it a correspondingly suitable filename - eg. PTA Water TEST NZAA 1600 C172.
These scenarios should be saved in paused or slewed mode (or both) and in default zoom, for consistency.
Take a reference screenshot immediately after entering the sim (ie. while still in paused/slew mode).
Set P3D to use .bmp or .tif as the file type for screenshots. Both of these are uncompressed/full formats, whereas .jpg will introduce compression and/or artefacts, which could be distracting.
Give the screenshots meaningful filenames, eg: pta_lights_600_300_250.tif - where the 3 numbers are the three values that may be being tweaked.
Use the Windows "Preview" utility to view/compare the screenshots. This allows you to (easily) view them at full size and flip back and forth with the cursor keys. If the screenshots were all taken immediately (and in paused mode) they should be identical in every way bar the latest tweak(s).
*After* you've taken the reference screenshot, use the time preview function in P3D to check that all works OK for different times of day and then try different weather conditions.
Adam_PTA_262_01 : for P3Dv4.3/PTA 2.62 CURRENT/LATESTDOWNLOAD
262_01 is a minor update of 261_03 and was tested mainly with REX Skyforce3D (more details in the readme file in the archive).
PTA aircraft lighting and/or VC tweaks can display MDL problems with a few JustFlight aircraft (and also the Aerosoft/Octopus An-2). Toggle the two aircraft/VC lighting options (all over values are OK).
Adam 262_01 • 01 • Gloster Meteor over Rangitoto - ORBX/NZNI • Downloads: 3328
Customising presets: quick tips
All systems are different, so if you feel you need to make further adjustments, here are some places to look:
Too blue overall? Enable the Scene tone adjustment post-processing filter then adjust the blue value - OR - lower the blue value (balanceZ) in Vibrance.
Water too blue? Tweak the Water Saturation value (to around 0.78 or below). Turning down the blue in the Haze effect and Rayleigh filters may also help.
Water: repeating textures? These will depend on the current water textures in use. Try experimenting with the two Waves size parameters.
Too dark in fully overcast conditions? Temporarily raise the HDR Brightness value (in P3D) or (in PTA) slightly raise the values of Objects lighting/Ambient sunlight ratio and Terrain lighting/Ambient sunlight ratio.
Preset filenames indicate the main PTA version (XX) and preset number (YY), in the form Adam_PTA_XX_YY.zip. Don't use presets for different or non-matching *main* PTA versions, as parameters may have been added, renamed or even removed. Using presets for different PTA *sub* versions (eg. PTA 2.10, PTA 2.11) is fine.